A pre-Christmas meal at The Wavendon Arms

Duck parfait with ciabatta, blackcurrant curd and seeds

Every year, we have a girls’ meal out pre-Christmas and this year is no different. Four of us had a table booked at The Wavendon Arms – for food, fizz and a festive catch up. Our table was at 7:45pm, and a good – if not memorable – evening was had by all.

First dilemma was choosing the menu. We had the options of the standard a la carte, or three different festive menus – ranging in price. The cheapest was your standard three courses; the second included a welcome drink and a mini Green & Blacks chocolate bar after the meal; and the most expensive option also included bread and olives to share before the starter, and an after-dinner cocktail.

We went straight down the middle, choosing the second option and went straight in with ordering our welcome drinks – a glass of fizz each (pink for me!), and a house soda for the designated driver. Sadly, our drinks ended up coming at the same time as the starters… and the subsequent bottle of fizz we ordered.

Read more: Pre-Christmas dinner at Le Meridien, Piccadilly

Venison with dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables, with a saucepan of jus
To start, I chose the duck parfait with toasted ciabatta, a lovely fruit chutney, blackcurrant curd and seeds. It was delicious, although there was too much Parfait for the toast. We had previously shared some bread and olives for the table, and I regret not saving some of the ciabatta for the parfait. It proved a popular choice, as three of us ordered it – while the vegetarian in our party had the butternut squash & sage soup.

I continued down the rich route with my main course: venison. I love venison, although it’s a meat I rarely eat. Pre-Christmas was the right occasion, and I didn't regret my choice. While the middle was fine, it was slightly overdone to my liking, at the ends. I prefer it still very pink, like I do my steak. It came served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans, carrots and Brussels.

Eton mess sandwich dessert
For dessert, I was hoping to have the mince pie Crème brûlée, but they'd run out. I didn't really like anything else on our set menu (chocolate orange bombe, chocolate brownie, cheese board) so I switched to the cheaper menu to have the Snowball Smash. It was a bit like an Eton mess, but instead two meringue nests sandwiched a mixture of cinnamon cream, cranberries, and blackcurrants. Not quite what I was expecting, but still delicious – and finished off what was a very rich meal.

Read more: A Pre-Christmas meal at Tredwells

My desert dilemma wasn't the only drama of the evening. Two of the group ordered the cheese board. One came served with all four cheeses, while the other only had three. The waitress also didn't bring out the savoury biscuits and only noticed after asking if everything was okay. Before she returned with them, I also flagged up to the girls that there was no celery – only to then be told there wasn't any. Next up some celery arrived and the wrong cheese – cheddar instead of goats! We were then told we'd get some additional cheese… which turned out to be just one piece of stilton, and still not the piece that was missing from the plate originally. It became quite the show and by the end of it, even the waitress was laughing with us – not her fault, of course, but still frustrating. Other than that, the service had been good.

And then we stayed for a round of cocktails and a good ol’ natter. Luckily, they didn't kick us out… and I'm sure we left around closing. Like I say, a good catch up and some lovely food with friends before Christmas – and I'm already looking forward to where we go this year.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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